Windows 10 includes a new peer-to-peer download feature for updates and Windows Store apps. By default, Windows will automatically use your PC's Internet connection to upload updates, hiding the option to disable this five clicks deep in the operating system.
You can continue to use peer-to-peer updates on your local network, but you may not want to waste upload bandwidth to help reduce Microsoft's bandwidth bills. This is especially true if you have data caps on your Internet connection.
Microsoft distribute future Windows 10 updates using a peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol. While Microsoft has traditionally used Windows Update to deliver OS and some application updates from a single source, the latest Windows 10 reveals that the company is moving towards P2P. A new option allows Windows 10 users to enable "updates from more than one place," with the ability to download apps and OS updates from multiple sources to obtain them more quickly.
Apps and OS updates can be downloaded from Microsoft and PCs on a local network, or a combination of local PCs, internet PCs, and Microsoft's traditional Windows Update servers. It's no surprise that Microsoft is moving towards this distribution model.
The software maker acquired Pando Networks in 2013, the maker of a peer-to-peer file sharing technology that's similar to BitTorrent. It's not clear what technology Microsoft is using for its Windows 10 updates, but it's reasonable to expect it has evolved from the Pando Networks acquisition. How to stop this using your bandwith to update other PCs.
Windows Update has seen a lot of changes on Windows 10.You'll find this setting where all the other Windows Update settings now exist, in the Settings app. Open it by clicking the Start button and selecting “Settings” at the bottom-left corner of the Start menu. In the Settings window that appears, click (or tap) the “Update & security” icon.
Click the “Advanced options” option at the bottom of the Windows Update pane.
Scroll down to the bottom of this pane again and select “Choose how updates are delivered.”
Select the option you prefer under “Updates from more than one place.” We recommend just selecting “PCs on my local network” here.
You could also set your current Wi-Fi connection as “metered.” When you set a connection as metered, you're telling Windows it's a connection with restricted data - such as a mobile data connection or a Wi-FI hotspot from a smartphone you're tethered to. Windows won't upload updates on a metered connection - it won't even automatically download Windows updates.
To set your current Wi-FI network as a metered connection, open the Settings app and navigate to Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Advanced options. Activate the toggle under “Set as metered connection.” The current Wi-Fi network will become a metered connection.
This isn't necessary if you've already disabled peer-to-peer updates in general. It will also prevent your Windows 10 PC from sharing updates with other computers on the same local network.
Some Internet service providers have harsh restrictions on the amount of bandwidth you can use in a month, charging you.
Peer-to-peer updates are actually a great feature - on your local network. Download the update once and all your computer can share it. Bandwidth on your local network should be plentiful. This actually saves you both time and reduces how much data you have to download, as you won't have to download the updates five times if you have five Windows 10 PCs at home.
Microsoft acquired Pando Networks back in 2013. Pando Networks was a peer-to-peer media distribution company, and used a modified form of BitTorrent to distribute data. It hasn't been confirmed, but Microsoft-watchers believe Windows 10's peer-to-peer downloads are based on this technology. As with BitTorrent, Microsoft states “the download is broken down into smaller parts” and “Windows uses the fastest, most reliable download source for each part of the file.” In BitTorrent parlance, Windows 10 is “seeding” updates on your PC's Internet connection with the default setting.
Windows 10 isn't the first software product to play this game. A variety of PC game companies, notably Blizzard Entertainment, distribute games and patches with a peer-to-peer downloader that uses BitTorrent in the background to speed up downloads, sharing your Internet connection with other people downloading. However, these are generally more conspicuous - it isn't a hidden feature enabled in the background that's always running.
If Microsoft's servers are being slammed, the distributed nature of the updates can ensure they reach more people faster. This will also help Microsoft save on bandwidth bills, as they're passing on some of the upload bandwidth they'd need to pay for to their customers' Internet connections.